In January 2011, the Smithsonian Channel approached Kevin Hockley, an Ontario-based model maker, with a tall (and rather long) order: Build us a snake.

Several years ago, Carlos Jaramillo, a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and scientists from the University of Florida, University of Toronto and Indiana University unearthed fossils of a prehistoric snake in northern Colombia. To tell the story of the discovery, the film producers wanted a full-scale replica of the creature.

The snake, however, was not your typical garter snake or rattlesnake, which Hockley had sculpted before, but Titanoboa, a 2,500-pound “titanic boa” as long as a school bus that lived 58 million years ago.

From Snake Found in Grand Central Station on

The sculpture was exhibited at Grand Central from January to March 2011, which was where I bumped into it one evening on my way home.

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